Municipalities in the history of the world offers a free collection of over 1,700 primary sources covering a wide range of themes and events in world history. The best part is that all of the primary sources in the collection are annotated with useful notes for students. World History Commons also offers a collection of free educational guides which incorporate the use of primary sources.

The search function on World History Commons searches the entire site instead of just the main source collection. The main source collection itself has filters that you can apply as you browse the collection. You can filter by region of the world, time period, subject, and source type (audio, image, text, video, or object). The World, Time Period, and Source Type filters do exactly what you expect. The subject filter is a bit trickier because some events can be classified into more than one subject but may only appear under one of the filters.

The Teacher’s Guides section of the World History Commons offers lesson plans and tips on teaching strategies with primary sources. The guides are aligned with specific primary sources within the World History Commons collection of primary sources. Your search for educational guides can be refined depending on the period, region and subject.

Applications for education

The World History Commons is a resource that anyone who teaches world history should have bookmarked. While primary sources in themselves are useful, annotations can help students understand the meaning of what they see and read. Study guides are also helpful in providing some inspiration on how to use primary sources in a variety of contexts. I particularly enjoyed reading this teaching guide about Chinese propaganda posters.


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